Expanding Our Fibre Expertise and Developing New Strands

6 April, 2021 - 10:38 | Sarah Hemingway

Hemp

As a specialist British woollen mill in the heart of Cornwall, we’re proud of the traditional values we hold whilst maintaining an innovative and forward-looking approach in developing our work. We continuously strive to deliver the highest, quality services that our customers want now and might need in the future. We know that tastes and trends change, and we love to experiment. So here’s an update on what we’ve been doing recently: 

We’re Focusing on Our Environmental Impact 

Our environmentally conscious approach means that whenever possible we source from local and British suppliers and we strive to support a greener and circular economy and to reduce our carbon footprint.  At the start of the year, a Sustainable Environmental Management postgraduate student undertook a virtual internship with us focussing on lanolin extraction and looking at how we can reduce pollution impact.  The internship was organised through an ESF Innovation in Higher Level Skills initiative at Plymouth University. 

 

Made in the U.K -  Growing our Network of Industry Partners 

We’re delighted to have recently been added to the Made in Britain members directory which showcases manufacturing businesses that produce goods and services in the UK. We have also become a member of UKFT, the biggest network for UK fashion and textile businesses.  We took part in the very first Made in UK Day in March, an initiative that champions British made products and services and we received great coverage across regional and national platforms.  We also like to collaborate and we’re supporters of Campaign for Wool and Make UK and we’re always happy to fly the flag to support the Cornish economy too through initiatives such as Made in Cornwall and BuyCornwall

 

Our Research and Development Work

We’ve been working with business innovation researchers, academics and industry specialists from  Plymouth University to develop our work in the field of Textiles and Natural Fibres.  The Enterprise Solutions, Research and Innovation department has been instrumental in creating links to develop our enquiry into using natural fibres as insulation and sound absorption for housing and building projects. 

In December 2020 we heard that our application to the Acceleration Through Innovation2 initiative to obtain expertise support had been successful and we have been working closely with the Acceleration Through Innovation Cornwall project team to extend our methods of analysis for Material Variability and Wool Processing.  Our research and development work is also focussed on exploring alternative uses for surplus waste wools such as in insulated packaging for the food and drink sector and gardening. 

 

Adding Experience to the Team 

At the start of this year, we welcomed the arrival of Bruce Catterall, our Production Manager (pictured below) and the latest addition to The Natural Fibre Company team. Bruce has a wealth of experience and will be focussing on transforming our production systems and processes, improving our effectiveness as a value-added service, investigating further improvements to our scouring extraction wool processability in downstream processes and developing an effective effluent management system. 

Bruce and Beki, our customer service and marketing executive, have been testing a wide range of materials including Hemp (pictured below), Tencel,  Kapok, Corn Top, Bio-Nylon,  Recycled Plastics and even some dog hair for their compatibility when blended with wool and other natural fibres. They’ve also been looking at how we can supply new wool for hand felting projects and its suitability for a range of craft activities.   

Traceability is key to what we do, and we believe that there is an important future and role for farming and for the countryside. We maintain good working relationships with local farmers with unique rare breeds who require sheep fleece processing, as well as a range of natural fibre producers.  We’re always open to new ideas and suggestions and we enjoy experimenting with different fibres and materials to produce something that will be fit for purpose, long lasting and developed into a high-quality end product. 

If you have an idea for a new product with a blend of materials that you are thinking of launching, talk to us and we’ll carry out some tests.  You can contact us by emailing the team at info@thenaturalfibre.co.uk

We look forward to hearing from you.

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Blacker Yarns

enquiries@blackeryarns.co.uk | +44 (0) 1566 777 635

 

The Natural Fibre Company

enquiries@thenaturalfibre.co.uk | +44 (0) 1566 777 635